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What is the average cost to repair a used car?
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What is the average cost to repair a used car?

20/06/2022

The average used car driver spends around £1,300 annually on car maintenance and repairs. That includes petrol — no surprise there — but also repairs and breakdowns. On a monthly basis most people pay between £65 and £68 on fuel and between £30 and £35 on trips to the mechanic. 

Of course, those are just averages and repairs can be very expensive for an unlucky few. A study by WarrantyWise found that the average repair bill for an unexpected fix is close to £600. The more upscale the brand, the more it costs to fix. 

If your used car still has some time left on the original manufacturer's warranty, then you’ll still be on their schedule of standard maintenance packages and cover. For most used car owners however, the warranty has already expired, so you have to pay for each service and part individually. 

There are things you can do to make surprise car repair bills less likely. There are car repair finance options like ours that you can turn to, but regular upkeep of your used car is the best way forward.  

Let’s take a look at what that means in practice. 

Keep up with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule 

Even if your used car is out of warranty, the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule is worth sticking to. Too many drivers try and save money on maintenance by delaying periodic service visits. New car or used, experts say that any savings you gain are short-term at best. Waiting too long between mechanic visits lets small problems escalate into big ones. And with a used car, there naturally tends to be more small problems. 

Keep your car clean 

Maing sure your used car’s body and underside are cleaned regularly will help keep grime and grit from accumulating around moving parts. It will also minimise scratches and other damage to your paint job, glass, and mirrors. Studies have shown that British drivers spend around £60 a year taking their car in to the car wash. Pro tip: a car’s normal lifespan is seven to eight years. If you wash your car at home you could save slash £800 from your maintenance costs over that period. 

Drive your used car carefully 

Getting more life out of your used car could be as easy as treating it with more care. Your brakes, tyres, clutch and transmission will all last you longer if chill out a bit and don’t stress your systems and components to the max. Being nice to your motor is easier than you think.  

Start with simple changes. For example, don’t keep your foot pressed down on the clutch after you change gears. If you do the clutch won’t fully re-engage, which could cause the plates in the gearbox shaft to slip. Over time that will cause major damage to your transmission which will be expensive to fix.  

Another thing you can do is steer clear of bumps and potholes. Your car’s suspension, underside, and tyres can all be damaged by flying over imperfect roads at high speed. What you’ll end up with is a painfully expensive repair bill — all of which could be avoided by taking it slow. 

Finally, keep an eye on what’s coming down the road. Watch for potential collisions and brake gradually as required. Easing on the brakes will keep discs and brake pads from wearing out before their normal lifespan expires. If you brake hard all the time it creates more friction and wears down component materials faster. 

Make your next car electric 

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity and that means there’s also a growing market in used EVs. Lower repair costs are part of the attraction. Along with being more sustainable, e-cars are rightly hailed for being cheaper to maintain. Their motors contain fewer moving parts. And perhaps most importantly, charging an electric vehicle is significantly cheaper than filling a tank with diesel or petrol. 

The latest industry research shows that electric cars are about 25 per cent cheaper to maintain than cars with a traditional petrol-fired internal combustion engine. On average, that equates to savings of about £300 annually. 

Fix what you can yourself 

If you’re willing to sit through a few YouTube videos and learn how to handle basic car maintenance, you can save a lot of money every year by keeping your used car away from the mechanic’s and doing smaller repairs, simple replacements like filters, and fluid top-ups yourself. 

When you take your used car into a garage, you’re paying for parts and labour. In many cases, a bit of shopping around will locate the same parts for less than what the mechanic is going to charge you for them. Learning how to do straightforward fixes like oil changes can save you hundreds of pounds annually. 

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